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March 22, 2015

Affiliates in the news!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines. If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Dome at the Arab American National Museum. Courtesy of AANM.

Dome at the Arab American National Museum. Courtesy of AANM.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)
Dearborn’s Arab American Museum celebrates 10 years of national significance
… the preeminent museum dedicated to documenting and preserving the Arab American story is located in Dearborn. The Arab American National Museum (AANM), the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Southeast Michigan, will celebrate its ten year anniversary this May. As part of the milestone, the museum will roll out a year-long series of events and renovations. “These are huge institutions that tell the American narrative and we’re always striving to include the Arab American story as part of this larger discussion,” says Akmon. “We’re based in Dearborn, but we’re a national institution.”

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, TN/VA)
Smithsonian exhibit offers wide range of music styles at BCMM
Visitors to a new exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum can play albums on a record player or pick up the spoons, a washboard, strum a guitar or try their hand at the banjo or fiddle. New Harmonies, a Smithsonian exhibit that includes a wide range of American music styles, opened Wednesday and will appear there for the next six months.

Interactive Smithsonian exhibit at Country Music Museum
This should be music to your ears! Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum is showing off an exhibit that used to belong to the Smithsonian in Washington.

New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music
New Harmonies was once part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Carol Harsh, director of Museums on Main Street, was instrumental in facilitating the transfer of the exhibit to the BCMM. “The exhibit has found a permanent home at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum,” said Harsh. “We feel it was a perfect fit.”

Photograph of newly built Biomuseo biodiversity museum in Panama City, Panama. Photo by: Fernando Aldo, September, 2014.

Photograph of newly built Biomuseo biodiversity museum in Panama City, Panama. Photo by: Fernando Aldo, September, 2014.

Biomuseo (Panama City, Panama)
Meet Biomuseo: the world’s first biodiversity museum
George Angehr, the Curator of Exhibits at Biomuseo and an ornithologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, played an integral role in developing the scientific content found in the eight exhibitions in the museum. He said Panama’s unique position made it the natural choice for the world’s first biodiversity museum…. In a 2015 interview with mongabay.com, Angehr talked about what visitors can expect when visiting Biomuseo and how the new museum could raise biodiversity awareness and further conservation efforts in Panama and beyond.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
Before There Were Crocodiles, There Was the “Carolina Butcher”
But this newfound ancestor of the modern croc had anything but a docile temperament, according to a study by paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. At about 231 million years old, the newly described species offers fresh insight into crocodile evolution and behavior in the days before the reign of the dinosaurs.

Audubon program to focus on ‘E-mammal’ project
The speaker will be Megan Baker-Whatton, who is the citizen science coordinator of the eMammal project at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Biology Institute…She will provide an overview of the e-Mammal project, which links citizen volunteers with researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to document mammals throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and soon, the entire country.

Smithsonian Science How?: Arthropod Adaptations (VIDEO)
The Smithsonian Institution selected the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as a partner for “Smithsonian Science How?” a new program to deliver real-world science directly into classrooms through free, interactive live webcasts and classroom resources. …This presentation, “Arthropod Adaptations,” featuring Bill Reynolds, Curator, Coordinator, & Containment Director of the Arthropod Zoo, originally aired March 13, 2014. It was followed by “Inside the Insect Zoo” featuring Dan Babbitt, manager of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. 

Watch live streaming video from naturalsciences at livestream.com

Smithsonian Science How?: Lemurs  (VIDEO)
“How to Eat Like a Lemur” with Chris Smith, education specialist at Duke Lemur Center, is the second presentation in the series. The Smithsonian’s Briana Pobiner will follow with “Early Human Diets” at 11am.

Heritage Farm Museum and Village (Huntington, WV)
Heritage Farm linked to Smithsonian
Heritage Farm Museum and Village has achieved a new level of recognition and entered a new realm of possibilities. It’s been named West Virginia’s first Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, a distinction that will link Heritage Farm with the many resources and learning opportunities available through the Smithsonian, said Audy Perry, the new executive director of the Heritage Farm Foundation.

Heritage Farm adds Smithsonian connection
Being accepted as part of the Smithsonian network adds an impressive “seal of approval” for the museum project begun by Henriella and the late Mike Perry almost 20 years ago. As their son Audy Perry noted last week, it also marks a “new beginning” for Heritage Farm and a chance to share the Appalachian pioneer story more broadly and more richly than ever before.

A student plays at the new Spark!Lab. Feidt/APRN

A student plays at the new Spark!Lab. Feidt/APRN

Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, AK)
New Anchorage Museum “lab” sparks innovation
“This is not just banging things that’s going on here,” says Arthur Molella, the director of the Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian, which created the Spark!Lab. “This is all done with a purpose. Cause some of the same energies that are happening here — essentially this curiosity, a disciplined curiosity begins here and carries on through the rest of your life.” Molella says that curiosity and creativity lead to innovation and invention. That’s why his center worked with educators to create the Spark!Lab. They’re helping museums around the United States set up their own localized versions. The Anchorage version, the sixth in the country, will soon include activities focused on the innovation required to live in the Arctic.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY FUND, SMITHSONIAN BRING SPARK!LAB TO ANCHORAGE, OPENING THE DOORS TO INNOVATION AND INVENTION
Spark!Lab, the hands-on invention experience from the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, is opening its newest location at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska. With the support of Ford Motor Company Fund, Spark!Lab will engage children and families in the invention process through science experiments, games, activities and special programs, such as SparkNite, a look at the innovation and inventions of Alaska’s history and Arctic environment.

New Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Director, Melissa Chiu, at the Frost Art Museum. Photography by Rodrigo Gaya

New Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Director, Melissa Chiu, at the Frost Art Museum. Photography by Rodrigo Gaya

Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (Miami, FL)
Making A Museum in the 21st Century” with Melissa Chiu at Frost Art Museum FIU
The Steven and Dorothea Green Critics’ Lecture Series launched its 34th season at Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU with guest-lecturer Melissa Chiu’s presentation of “Making A Museum in the 21st Century.” Dr. Chiu is the new director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C

The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, CA)
The Mexican Museum Hires Cayetana S. Gomez as President and Chief Executive Officer
“We are extremely pleased to have Cayetana join our team,” said Andrew M. Kluger, Chairman of The Mexican Museum Board of Trustees. “Along with her unparalleled communication skills and a vast network of professional relationships throughout the United States and Mexico, she has also held significant leadership positions for some of Mexico’s most important art, culture, and media institutions.”

Mexican Museum Set To House Over 18,000 Pieces Of Art In San Francisco Gets Lease Approved
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a lease in the city’s Yerba Buena neighborhood for The Mexican Museum, expected to house more than 18,000 pieces of art and artifacts from across the Americas.

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, AR)
Mid-America Science Museum reopens with new look, unique exhibits
It’s a brand new day at the Mid-America Science Museum. Closed since Aug. 11 for renovations, the museum opened its doors Saturday, offering more than 60 exhibits, displays and experiment stations to visitors of all ages.

The exhibition presents paintings, arms and armour and modern work of art. Lakhpreet Kaur/HT

The exhibition presents paintings, arms and armour and modern work of art. Lakhpreet Kaur/HT

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas)
Sikh artwork on display at Texas University
Developed by Smithsonian Institution and sponsored by the Sikh Heritage Foundation, the exhibition presents paintings; arms and armour; traditional textiles and dress; musical instruments; jewellery; sacred texts; and modern works of art, apart from a scale model of the Golden Temple. “The bulk of the exhibit originated at the Smithsonian Institution, with whom we’re an affiliate.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (Miami, Florida)
Miami Eyes Huge Tourist Draw With $300M Museum
“The museum has always been a community-led initiative to excite and educate greater Miami and its global visitors. It will enrich the lives of south Floridians and visitors by offering in-depth learning experiences and bring the best global resources to south Florida, creating a link between the education, tourism and business communities.”

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
Keeper of the Past
HistoryMiami has a lot of history. Previously known as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, this Smithsonian-affiliated museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is the oldest nonreligious cultural institution in Miami-Dade County. In fact, the museum is now observing its 75th anniversary, and a big announcement is expected during the museum’s annual membership meeting on April 23.

Flushing Town Hall (Flushing, New York)
Flushing Town Hall meets $35,000 campaign challenge
Flushing Town Hall has met its campaign goal of raising $35,000 to match funding from an anonymous donor ahead of its Feb. 28 deadline. Since September, more than 300 people made contributions by mail or online or dropped off donations. By Feb. 10, the organization had raised more than $41,000.

Kenosha Public Museum (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
FREE space exhibit, Kenosha Family Fun, Wisconsin tourist attraction, Stunning Satellite Images
Earth from Space illustrates how satellite imagery is gathered and used to expand mankind’s understanding of life on Earth. It also explores the remote-sensing technology used to gather the images and describes the individual satellites whose images are on display. Brought to you courtesy of the United States Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution.

Kenosha Public Museum Hosts Smithsonian Earth from Space Exhibition
The Earth From Space exhibit is on display at the Kenosha Public Museum now through June 21, 2015. Stunning satellite images and artifacts reveal our dynamic, ever-changing planet.

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, Washington)
[Spokane Public Radio spot] From the Studio: The art of Joe Feddersen
Cecile Ganteaume, Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Washington, DC and Multi-Media Artist and Colville Confederated Tribal Member Joe Feddersen spoke with Verne Windham on Friday morning about the Museum of Arts and Culture’s three-days of special programs focusing on American Indian Basketry.

Native Film Fest logo.

Native Film Fest logo.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, California)
NativeFest coming of age with mature content
The festival’s mission, Hammond said, is to explore indigenous issues, such as the exploitation of Native land and sovereignty, and showcase indigenous filmmakers from around the world.

Native FilmFest: a celebration of diversity
When you have a guest programmer from the Smithsonian Institution and one of the featured films is produced by the Sundance Institute, those strategic alliances give the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum’s 14th Annual Native FilmFest “street cred” that would be the envy of many other film festivals around the country.

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA); Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati, OH); St. Augustine, FL (St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum)
Top US family vacation destinations named
The best family-friendly vacation spots in the US as chosen by 2,000 families from across the country. Animal attractions, science museums, and tourist towns resonated with families this year.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
Space & Rocket Center celebrates 45 years with cake & Biergarten
In 1968, the state’s citizens voted to finance construction of the Center, which houses the National Historic Landmark Saturn V Moon Rocket, the Apollo 16 Command Module, the Pathfinder space shuttle display and many other exhibits. The Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum and is the Official Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center.

Vintage Photos celebrate the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 45 years
Enjoy a gallery of vintage historical photos from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 45 years of educating America and the world about the NASA and the U.S. Space program. The photos begin with the groundbreaking for the Alabama Space & Rocket Center and include visits by astronauts and celebrities to the center.

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT)
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum curator to speak at Norwich
Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center, Vermont’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, will host Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator of Aeronautics at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for a lunch-and-learn on Wednesday, April 8 at noon in Milano Ballroom, located in Roberts Hall.

August 25, 2014

Affiliates in the news! September edition

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
True West Magazine Names Cody Firearms Museum in Annual Top Ten Museums List
“The Cody Firearms Museum dedication to excellence, and their mission of preserving and interpreting our great western history for all generations, is inspiring,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “They keep the Old West alive.”

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
Exhibit seeking items related to exodus out of Cuba
A new initiative by HistoryMiami and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is aiming to capture the experiences of both Cuban balseros, or rafters, as well as those of Cuban exiles in general: How they traveled here and what they found upon arrival.

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Crowdsourcing the Olinguito
“It’s kind of like looking at pictures of your growing child,” said Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences & N.C. State University. “You can see our knowledge about the species grow with every picture sent to us.”

San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego, California)
SD Air & Space Museum names eight new Hall of Famers
Joe Engle, Fitz Fulton, Bill Boeing Jr., John (Jack) Dailey, Roger Schaufele, Bessie Coleman, the Ninety-Nines and WD-40 will be inducted Nov. 1 in a celebration at the museum’s Pavilion of Flight in Balboa Park.

Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri)
New Science City attraction: Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab designed for inventive young minds
The rejuvenation of Science City at Union Station continues with the opening Tuesday of Spark!Lab, an interactive area intended to inspire kids to be inventive using simple materials. The idea is the property of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and is only the second one in the United States outside Washington, D.C.

 

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Young scientists get hands-on learning experience at new Spark!Lab
Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn. Now there’s a Spark!Lab dedicated to doing just that. There are only three in the world. Lucky for metro residents, one is located right here in Kansas City at Union Station.

National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The nuclear story told at National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas
In December 2011, the museum was designated as a national museum and is today affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. As part of the designation, the museum has shifted its focus from a regional museum to a national museum, dedicated to telling the country’s history of nuclear development.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Cincinnati’s Freedom Center sheds its chains of doubt
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center marks the 10th anniversary of its opening Sunday, celebrating a decade in which it survived derision, doubts and debt that nearly shut it down.

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Berkshire Museum To Host Smithsonian Spark!Lab
This fall, the Berkshire Museum will become one of only five sites in the United States to host a new kind of innovative science learning exhibit developed by the Smithsonian Institute

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, Tennessee)
Going Places: Birthplace of Country Music Museum definitely worth the trip to Bristol
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the BCMM is dedicated to telling the story of the Bristol Sessions, the first commercially-successful recordings of country music.

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

Read:At The Cradle Of Country Music, A Monument You Can Hear As Well As See

Listen: NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is opening in Bristol, Virginia this weekend. Nashville may be the mecca of this music today, but as Johnny Cash himself put it, Bristol was the site of the ‘Big Bang’ that led to the universe of country music we know today.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum set to open
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum will open in a facility designed to engage the community regularly through programming and exhibits and is expected to draw visitors from around the world.

Grand Opening Of The Birthplace Of Country Music Museum In Bristol Is This Weekend
The Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music through interactive, multi-media exhibits, film, and more. Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions as “The single most important event in the history of country music.” Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens in Bristol This Weekend
“The opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is something that our community has been looking forward to for many years, and we take pride in giving our community something that celebrates our rich music heritage,” Leah Ross, the museum’s executive director, told Kingsport’s Times News.

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
Smithsonian and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to Present “Save Our African American Treasures” Sept. 6
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum.

July 20, 2013

Exclusive Grant Opportunity for Affiliates: Places of Invention

We’re looking for up to 20 Affiliates to receive $10,000 and training in Washington, D.C. to document innovation in your community.

Places of Invention (POI) is an exhibition in development, organized by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and scheduled to open at the National Museum of American History in 2015.

poi2The Lemelson Center team is looking to Affiliates and their community partners to explore the central idea of the Places of Invention exhibition—that invention is everywhere and a product of the unique combination of people, resources, and surroundings that come together in a certain place and time.

Teams, led by Affiliates, are asked to apply these themes to their own communities and create multiple deliverables, including videos, oral histories, and public programs. One or more short videos synthesizing their findings will be featured on a dynamic, large-scale interactive map, central to the POI exhibition. Join us in this new model of co-creation of exhibition content! The deadline to apply via written proposal is September 1, 2013.

For more details and information on how to apply, email or call Anna Karvellas at (202) 633-4722.

Places of Invention has been made possible by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation.

July 30, 2012

invention invention everywhere!

Since Smithsonian Affiliations started collaborating with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, we’ve learned a lot about Places of Invention.  (See this blog to learn more about our collaboration.) 

Affiliate staff and their community partners, on the roof of the National Museum of American History during the kickoff workshop for Places of Invention

Affiliates have joined the action too.  On June 15, Affiliate staff and their community partners joined a day-long workshop to kickoff their individual research projects around their own communities and what makes them so innovative.  (Read more about the kickoff workshop on the Lemelson Center’s blog, Bright Ideas.)

Now, we are all much more attuned to what makes a place of invention – be it exceptional natural resources, the right mixture of people and skills, or an inspiring location… or something else.  Invention was readily on view during a recent trip to western Massachusetts, and we suspect, can be documented in many other communities as well.

Join the quest for invention and share your stories with us!

 

February 27, 2012

do you live in a place of invention?

 

The iconic Hewlett-Packard garage in 2009. Courtesy of BrokenSphere/ Wikimedia Commons.

Company labs.  Governmental research centers.  Universities.  These places are where many of us think inventions happen.  But how about garages, coffee shops, parks, or other community gathering spots?!  Invention can happen in all kinds of places.  This idea forms the foundation of the Lemelson Center’s exhibition in development, Places of Invention.  It’s about communities “where people, resources, and spaces have come together to spark inventiveness.”  Does that describe your environment?  If so, consider contributing your story to the Places of Invention exhibition website.

The Lemelson Center team has assembled case studies of historic and contemporary invention hubs – Hartford, CT in the late 1800s; Hollywood, CA in the 1930s-40; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in the 1950s-60s; Silicon Valley, CA and the Bronx, NY in the 1970s-80s; and Fort Collins, CO today.  Over the course of the next year, the exhibition team will work closely with six Affiliates to create community documentation projects of their places of invention to be featured in the exhibition.  Affiliate partners in this project include: the Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA); American Museum of Science and Energy (Oakridge, TN); Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA); Lakeview Museum (Peoria, IL); American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA); and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH).

But we know there are many more stories to be told.  Take the Lemelson Center’s survey or email them at lemcen@si.edu to describe your place of invention and join the conversation!

April 26, 2011

affiliates collaborate to Spark! imaginations

Despite being the world’s largest museum complex, one of the challenges at the Smithsonian Institution remains taking the unique offerings away from the invisible walls of the National Mall and “encourage inventive creativity in young people” who may never visit Washington D.C.

The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation has met this opportunity head on by launching the Spark!Lab Outreach Kit Project, through a distribution of six organizations including five Affiliate museums. This collaboration is seen as an effort to extend the reach of Spark!Lab—the center’s hands-on invention activity center—beyond the boundaries of the National Museum of American History. The kits will be designed to replicate some of the most popular Spark!Lab activities and provide opportunities for partner museums to connect their collections and exhibitions to themes of invention and innovation.

The Spark!Lab kits will test and engage students in a variety of interactive stations including “Shaping Space,” a structure building activity; “Now What?,” a problem-solving game; “Snap Circuits,” which gives visitors the chance to use real circuit components to create and test their own electric inventions; and “Soundscapes,” which encourages children to use items, including musical ramps, xylophone staircases and bridges with bells, to create music and sound pathways for marbles. The “Spark!Lab Jr.” program helps learners under the age of 5 develop inventive thinking and problem-solving skills. 

“At the Lemelson Center we believe that a playful approach to problem solving can spark new ideas and lead to great inventions,” said Arthur Molella, director of the center. “This outreach project allows us to reach children outside of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and inspire a new generation of inventive Americans.”

During this pilot program, Spark!Lab kits will be featured at the following Smithsonian Affiliate museums-the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Annmarie Garden in Solomons, Maryland, the Western Science Center in Hemet, California, the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.

“Science Museum Oklahoma is excited to partner with the Smithsonian and offer a new challenge to our younger guests!” said Suzette Ellison, vice president of Programs and Interpretation at the museum.

An educator at Annmarie Garden inventing with a Spark!Lab kit

“We are very excited to introduce the Spark Lab kits in our classrooms,” said Jaimie Jeffrey, Education Director at Annmarie Garden. “As an arts center, teaching children to apply creative problem-solving skills and innovative thinking to everything they do is paramount for us. These kits are great reinforcements for these strategies in all of our kids’ and family programs.”

The Lemelson Center expects to develop an online Spark!Lab “tool kit” based on evaluations and ‘lessons learned’ from the in-museum activity kits. The on-line content will outline Spark!Lab’s educational philosophy, mission, and vision, and will include simple at-home activities and a list of additional resources for parents and kids.

The Spark!Lab Affiliate program is supported by a gift from the LEGO Children’s Fund.  And be sure to meet the Spark!Lab staff at the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in June.

December 4, 2010

SI and Affiliates collaborate on Places of Invention

 

 

Places of Invention is a planned exhibition at the National Museum of American History organized  by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Scheduled to open in 2014, it will feature a selection of “hot spots” of invention and innovation—places where a critical mass of inventive people, networks, institutions, funding and other resources come together and creativity flourishes. Focusing on the mid-19th century to the present, each exhibition area will have hands-on experiences illustrating the ways that place and social collaboration shape the inventive process.

Places of Invention represents a new model in exhibition design, where content will be co-created in a collaborative manner by the center, professional partners and the public.   That’s where Affiliates come inPlaces of Invention has received a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation which will, in part, support a community documentation project and related programming at six Affiliates.  Affiliates with strong emphases on invention in their own missions will receive training to work with a community partner to document what makes their city a “place of invention.”  Affiliates for the pilot phase of the initiative include: the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN; The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology in Newark, OH; York County Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, SC; the Women’s Museum in Dallas, TX; the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA; and the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.

Their photographs, interviews, videos, oral histories, archives and more will become a part of the Places of Invention exhibition at the Smithsonian, inviting others to view their cities in new ways.

For more on the grant and project, read the press release.  The pilot phase is set to begin in Fall 2011, so watch out for more updates as the project progresses.  In the meantime, congratulations to our Lemelson Center and Affiliate colleagues on this unique collaboration!

 

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